Amanda S., Bachelor of Nutrition Science
Korea University International Winter Campus (December 2018)
Hi, I am Amanda Seek & currently in my 3rd year of Bachelor of Nutrition Science. Going for an exchange program during University days is on my bucket list and an achievement that I would want to unlock. In 2018, I finally got to go on an short-term program in Korea University. In 2017, which was my first year in QUT, I received an email regarding about the exchange program with Korea University. However, I was not prepared to go on an exchange, but I decided that I have to enrol into a short-term program during my summer break.
Seeing the sights!
South Korea, a country that I have never been… Being in South Korea was relatively foreign to me as the language that is spoken is Korean and my first language is English. Upon arriving in South Korea on 26th December 2018, Korea University provided a free shuttle bus from the airport to our respective dormitory in Korea University which was wonderful. My friend and I went over to the meet up point where we could board the shuttle bus, however we did not see any representatives from Korea University. Awhile later, we saw a few groups of students who were at the meeting points. Awhile later, there were a few student leaders who arrived at the meet up point for the free the shuttle bus and organised us together to board the bus.
The friends made in Korea
The shuttle bus dropped us to our respective dormitory and we followed the student leader to our dorms. There were student leaders at our dormitory to help us to check into our dorms. My friend and I were really grateful that they placed us in the same room as we chose a 2 shared dormitory, Anam Global Double House. The rooms included a bathroom, a shower, 2 wardr
obes, 2 study table and 1 pillow and bedsheet were provided for each bed. Toiletries were not included. There was a room for laundry, washing and drying of clothes cost about 2,000 won for each. There was a common kitchen that was provided for the residence, there was a microwave and few stoves. I have attached a short video of the room on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3PTEfebnqM.
In the dormitory, elevators are allocated respectively for both men and women, men and women are not allowed to share the elevator which was surprising. There is a gender segregation. Even though the dormitory do not have any curfews, but every visitor who is not a residence in Global House are required to write their student number and name. Visitors are only allowed to the lobby and kitchen area, visiting rooms are not allowed. I felt that they were very strict about this, and I wondered what if our friends from other dorms would like to visit and see how the other dorms look like as they were not allowed to be in. The dormitory also had rules that do not allow students to eat in their rooms, they can only consume food in the kitchen area. Alcohol is also prohibited in the dorm rooms.
We had our orientation on 27th December 2018, we were welcomed by the Dean of Korea University and given welcome packs. Korea University provides 2 sessions for their International Winter Campus and I was enrolled into session 1 which is an academic track, allowing me to transfer credits to QUT. There were over 20 courses that I could choose from and I decided to choose an psychology unit “IWC236 Abnormal Psychology” in Korea University which I wouldn’t be able to do in QUT. It was definitely an eye opener course for me as it covers different human behaviours such as schizophrenia, personality disorder and eating disorders which I am really interested in as I am studying Bachelor of Nutrition Science. The differences between Korea University and QUT are the size of lectures being small and some notes were provided by the lecturer. The buildings in Korea University were more compact as compared to QUT as we have 2 campuses, Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove.
Picture taken @ Namsan Tower (N Seoul tower) where every couples lock their lock pad as a sign of being together forever
Friendships that were made
Throughout this journey, I’ve met and built many friendships with students who are mostly universities in Australia. There were many students from Australia, such as Griffith University, University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. There were also students from Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) and National University of Singapore (NUS). The students there for exchange were outgoing and friendly, everyone will always come together and head out to explore Korea together.
Highlights of the exchange
The highlights of this trip are meeting and building a bond with students from Australia, going to Lotte World (theme park), trying out live octopus at Gwangjang Market, wearing a hanbok and attending my graduation ceremony when the program ended.
Celebrating my birthday at Jisan Skii Resort and abroad.
Celebrating my birthday at Jisan Skii Resort
Celebrating my birthday abroad with my new friends
Lastly, receiving an excellence award from the Australia Ambassador in Korea University.
What to do and eat!
Wearing a hanbok at Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace is definitely a place worth visiting. Wearing a hanbok cost about 25,000 won which includes a mini hair makeover and a mini bag for you to carry around. Entry is free when you are dressed in a hanbok.
Wearing a hanbok at Gyeongbokgung Palace
Korea serves the best food, I really enjoyed the food in Korea and trying the live octopus was a bucket list achievement as it is an exotic food that not everyone would dare to try.
Trying octopus for the first time
Last meal with friends before leaving for home.
We also made friends with one of the restaurant owner which serves super delicious stir fried chicken and seaweed soup. We took a photo together as it was our last meal in South Korea before all of us depart to our separate ways.An advice for future students who are interested to go on an exchange or short-term program, “be brave and step out of your comfort zone, you will definitely not regret it.” Ask a friend along if you are afraid to go on an exchange alone, especially in a foreign country.